Friday, February 20, 2009

Nice to Meet Me!

I've often had enough hubris to honestly desire that I had several clones, so that I could see and do everything I have ever wanted to. It's an obviously ludicrous proposition for a number of reasons. First of all, the technology isn't available to the middle class. In fact one can make a damn good argument that it never will be. If all of a sudden millions of Americans could go out to the local strip mall medical facility and purchase (at a reasonable rate) a few body doubles, then this would be an inordinately overcrowded nation. Sure... a lot of beloved pets could find their second lives, and of course people (especially the more religious) would be suspicious (as they are with most innovation), but eventually their collective resistance would wear down.

There would be an abundance of folks on the streets, and that would necessarily mean a surplus of the type of assholes I already wish would somehow disappear (in a very humane way, naturally, with very little suffering). It's one thing to have to face the prospect of preparing for, and bringing to birth, another human being. However, what if one didn't have to worry about the messy aspects of carrying an unborn child? There would be no morning sickness, nor swelling, nor all the rest of the stuff that's currently included to make women (and their partners) second guess their momentous decisions. It would simply be a matter of saving up the money, and filling out a bit of paperwork.

Obviously the government would have to get involved. There's simply no way around that in a society in this modern age. There are already so many financial choices that seem impulsive and uninformed. Just look at the McMansions that suburbanites purchased during the housing boom that are now the focus of foreclosures. The target to be cloned would certainly have to assume some responsibility for their new facsimile. Especially if the clones in question started out as infants. But you see, this is where my entire scenario breaks down. Because scientists wouldn't be offering you the choice. They couldn't actually clone the YOU that is you right now. It would be a tabla rasa, so to speak, unsullied by your own personal experiences.

However, let's assume for the purpose of hijinks that they could actually create an exact replica of you, the way you exist in this present. I know you'd be at least a little tempted. Maybe you could treat the newly created being as a shadow, and make him/her work two jobs, giving you a healthy percentage of his/her total earnings. But sooner or later some activists would get together some pesky little group to step on all your fun. They'd be marching and protesting about "clone rights", and exploitation of the "clone class". Still this is another alternative reality that is unlikely, as far as I can determine from imaging what my own clone would be like. He would be trying to figure out a way to put the clone label on me, and reverse the charges.

It really is a nightmare when I think about it. What if my double figured out a way to be better than me, despite the contrived similarities in experience and genome? That wouldn't be good for my self-esteem. What if my wife decided that she liked him better? There would have to be some serious negotiations to make sure that the situation worked out for my benefit. Of course I couldn't rely on my current powers of manipulation, as my clone would already know all of those tricks. Could I work with myself, if that self was manifest in a separate body? I think that's the ultimate question that needs to be answered. It would be a shame if I somehow wasted an opportunity like that.

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Blogger NERO said...

Cloning has always been such a quagmire of a proposition. I think the worst would be your clone murdering you and taking your place. Imagine if you will that he knows that he was only brought into existence to be your slave! Knowing what you know, would you kill your master...I, although extremely a non-violent person, would justify that murder in like two minutes. Time to run from the clones!

2:40 AM  
Blogger msmc1 said...

there is a film called PRIMER written and directed by David Carruth that deals with this topic. It won the grand jury prize dramatic at the 2004 sundance ff. Definately worth seeing.

10:21 PM  

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